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sisters & sparrows

Poetry. Photography. Life.

Category Archives: art

I love the work of Amy Borell.

I especially love this piece:

If I had the motivation I would definitely do this.  I have stacks of letters, postcards, mementos, photographs, just itching to be collated!


I’m home again for Christmas.  This term has been hard: and I’ve been so busy that I’ve had very little time to invest in my friends.  So I’m glad to be with my family again, and rest a little, and get in the mood for Christmas again.

We decorated the tree yesterday.  We had to make sure that all the decorations were above child-grabbing height, which was a novelty – I’m not used to having small kids around at Christmas.  This year my brother and sister-in-law will be with us so my two nephews will no doubt be happily running riot. (Rather, E will be, he’s the perfect age to properly love Christmas – 3; S is too young yet.  He can only roll.  He will be rolling and laughing to his heart’s content though.)

{Wonderful painting, no?  My sister, Beth Fletcher, is a genius artist.  Go and have a look at her work.}

And here’s a poem.  My current favourite, discovered in The Rattle Bag.

Dusk in the Country

Harry Edmund Martinson

from the Swedish {trans. Robert Bly}


The riddle silently sees its image.  It spins evening

among the motionless reeds.

There is a frailty no one notices

there, in the web of grass.


Silent cattle stare with green eyes.

They mosey in evening calm down to the water.

And the lake holds its immense spoon

up to all the mouths.

Fairytales!  They’re brilliant.  I read stacks of them at Christmas time.  They’re weird, wonderful, threatening.  Disney is laughable next to a real, proper fairy story.  Have you read Angela Carter’s Book of Fairy Tales?  If not, man up and read it.  You will see fairy tales in a whole new light.

So I was thrilled to discover this intriguing site on the wide wonderful web.  It allows you to generate your own bizarre and happily disconnected stories from a set of functions.  Genius idea really.  Here’s my result:

I used these functions: violation, trickery, complicity, departure, receipt of a magical agent, victory, return, transfiguration, wedding.

I sometimes forget what people tell me to do or not do because my mouth, salivating and unruly, thinks for me.  So I did what I was not supposed to do.  I ate the last bit of food. And when I finished the little morsels left on my hands and mouth burned into my skin to render me shamed forever.

“Sugar and spice,” the old woman beckoned as she held out palms filled with cinnamon falling between her fingers like sand.  As she sprinkled it across the floor my head swum up in a dizzy spell of hunger.  I could no longer control my feet moving towards the cheap gimmicks of an old woman.

I gave him my satchel and shoes as he asked me, then I shed my clothes as he advised me to do. “Wear this,” he said, and he shed his own skin.  It fell off in a pile on the soil floor looking like a tablecloth used in my home.  When I clothed myself in his skin I no longer smelled like my home or the valley.  Instead I became like the men on the mountain.  I smelled distinctly foreign.   I thanked the man and watched as he dressed himself in my own clothes.  He said he would wear them until new skin grew on his back.

I felt my legs lift from the ground and follow the white bird’s path that trailed along the movements of air.

“Take that needle and pin it to the inside of your shirt.  From then no one will be able to touch you without feeling the hurt of needles on the bare sides of their palms”

When he placed his hand upon me he let out a great cry and then vanished into the earth.

My head seemed to clear once I set foot on the grounds that surrounded the small, crooked house, my home I had been away from for what seemed like an eternity.  I could hear my mother tongue calling from the rustling trees, the voices of my ancestors rumbling through the dusty earth at my feet, the song of my dead father coming from the throat of a sad and melodious bird.  I was home again.

A familiar gold and silken robe of dragon scales was placed in my hands on account of me killing the creature.  For an odd reason I could not help but feel regret.  The girl with the white hair and her foxlike sibling did not mean any real harm but only wanted to protect the mountain as the men of soil bade them do.

A girl with snow white hair came to the house later that day, looking for the man with the leather-bottomed shoes and coat of dragon scales.  She told me she was betrothed to that man who had taken her creature form and made her human.  She reminded me of the mountain.  She was beautiful.

My word, isn’t it just so spookily poetic.  So cool.

I found this poem on a site that I stumbled across and which I now love with a passion, in fact it is so good that i’m afraid to share it with you in case you never come back to sisters&sparrows.  Michelle McGinnis you are ace.

That Your Hands Are Graceful and Kind

for Ellie

You left the overhead light on which burned
all night, till nearly morning, when Cedar
woke crying, perhaps hungry, and you turned
from your place next to me to feed her
if necessary, but mostly to let
her know that you were beside her and God
was in his heaven. Is it light that prods
us from our sleeping? Surely light begets
light and pulls us, as an infant is pulled
from the birth canal into waiting hands;
hands whose shapes are defined by that child’s shape
and in turn, define for that child, the world.
There’s little of this world I understand.
Only that your hands are graceful and kind
and lie like light against my chest while I sleep.

— Steve Kronen


I’ve found a find!  Hurrah!  If you don’t already know about Kareena Zerefos then its time you did.  Her illustrations are just… ooooh… wonderful.




This is what she says about herself:

Conceptually based around memories, dreams and nostalgia; Kareena creates a bittersweet, slightly unsettling feeling in her work by exploring themes of isolation and escapism. She works using a variety of media, including pencil, gouache and ink, and often combines traditional drawing with digital graphics.

It even sounds beautiful, doesn’t it?

I LOVE these drawings by Martine Rupert so so much.  I really do.  They’re just so intricate and personal and … well… cool!  

I’d love to commission one.  But of where?  It would be such a dilemma for me…  If you were asking Martine to make you one of these pictures, where would you choose?  And why?

Incidentally I’m loving this poem by Walt Whitman:

I see the cities of the earth, and make myself a 
part of them, 
I am a real Londoner, Parisian, Viennese, 
I am a habitan of St. Petersburgh, Berlin, Constantinople, 
I am of Adelaide, Sidney, Melbourne, 
I am of Manchester, Bristol, Edinburgh, Limerick, 

I am of Madrid, Cadiz, Barcelona, Oporto, Lyons, 
Brussels, Berne, Frankfort, Stuttgart, Turin, 
I belong in Moscow, Cracow, Warsaw — or north- 
ward in Christiana or Stockholm — or in 
some street in Iceland, 
I descend upon all those cities, and rise from them 

I love these drawings by Eveline Tarunadjaja

Cool, aren’t they?